Originally Posted by BCubb2003
And yet pitchers' Ks are among the most meaningful stats. It's the same K. And I've never been able to reconcile that.
Mathematically speaking, a strikeout for a pitcher and that same strikeout for a hitter are discrete events. What makes a K good for a pitcher is that it's signpost statistic. Pitchers who rack up the Ks generally keep hitters off the basepaths and generally enjoy longer, more successful careers. An individual strikeout doesn't mean that much. A pitcher would be just as happy with a popout, a weak liner or an at-em grounder in the same situation.
Yet there's no connection between lots of Ks for a hitter and the inability to get on base or to have a long, successful career. In fact there's tons of examples of hitters who whiffed a ton yet had excellent OB skills and some of the longest, most successful careers ever. I spent my youth watching Mike Schmidt (and watching Philly fans, the worst fans in baseball, freak out everytime he K'd). For the hitter, an out's an out. It's what he does when he's not making outs that defines his quality.